Dresdner Bank is reactivating its membership on the New York Stock Exchange today, capping a yearlong effort to build up its equities business in the United States.
Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, the U.S. securities subsidiary of Germany's Dresdner Bank, has hired 58 U.S. equities professionals since last July, bringing its equities staff to 68.
The hirings included those of five senior block traders, seven sales traders, seven equity analysts, and six research salespeople.
It is now looking to sell international equities to U.S. institutional investors. Dresdner executives also said that membership on the Big Board symbolizes a commitment to the U.S. equities market.
"We decided about a year and a half ago that we needed better integration of the U.S. product with the international product, in sales, trading, and equity research," said Ulrik Trampe, executive vice president in charge of the bank's U.S. equities division.
Dresdner had been on the exchange for many years until 1995, when it acquired London's Kleinwort Benson. At that time the merger partners decided to lease out the three NYSE seats they owned until they completed their integration.
In addition to its symbolic value, the return to the exchange will reduce Dresdner Kleinwort's operating costs by enabling it to trade stocks for its own account, said Michael J. Hanley, senior vice president and co- head of U.S. equity sales and research.
Dresdner has 215 equity analysts outside the United States, and a large equities sales operation in Europe, with slightly smaller groups in Asia and the Americas, according to Mr. Trampe.
In the United States, it will focus on cross-border transactions. Mr. Trampe said this distinguishes it from some other European firms that have set up shop here.
"A lot of foreign firms don't understand the real value they could bring to their U.S. domestic presence," he said.
On May 15 the Frankfurt-based bank's chairman, Bernhard Walter, confirmed rumors that he wants to expand Dresdner's U.S. investment banking presence by buying an American investment bank, according to equity analyst Ludtz Kunert of Auerbach & Grayson.
But so far, the bank has yet to successfully bid for a U.S. securities firm. So it has tried to reposition itself in the U.S. equities market through a series of strategic hirings.
Mr. Kunert said he did not think internal growth would get the kind of results that Dresdner is looking for. He speculated that the bank might try to acquire a U.S. securities firm in partnership with German insurance company Allianz, which owns 22.3% of Dresdner.
The two companies are already starting an asset management joint venture in Germany. Together they could afford to buy a much larger U.S. investment bank, Mr. Kunert said.
In addition to reactivating its membership on the New York Stock Exchange, Dresdner has a specialist on the Boston Stock Exchange.